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5 May 2017

CM option for Bangla mango duty hike

KOUSIK SEN, TT, Raiganj, May 4: Mamata Banerjee today said the government was exploring the option of exporting mangoes from Malda to European countries and the UAE, the announcement coming in the wake of Bangladesh raising import duty on the fruit by at least five times.
"Huge quantities of mango used to be exported to Bangladesh from Malda. But because of the rise in import duty from 10 per cent to 50 per cent by Bangladesh, the growers here no longer find it profitable to export the produce," Mamata said this afternoon.
"We have already spoken with some European countries. Also, countries like Nepal, Abu Dhabi (UAE) and Saudi Arabia are potential markets for the fruit. The state government is working in this regard. The growers need not to worry," she added.
Exporters said Bangladesh, the principal market for Malda mangoes outside India, levied 10 per cent duty even seven years ago.
"As of now, the price that a kilo of mango fetches in Dhaka does not even cover our total cost. That is why it is not at all profitable for us to export mangoes to Bangladesh. But we also cannot overlook the fact that around 70 per cent of the mango produced here is exported to Bangladesh. We have urged the chief minister to take up the issue with the government there," said Ujjal Saha, the general secretary of the West Bengal Exporters' Association.
Malda produces 4.5 lakh tonnes to 5.5 lakh tonnes of mango annually.
The traders, however, pointed to a problem in exporting mangoes to European countries.
"We welcome the chief minister's plan. But from our experience, we can say that the problem of exporting mangoes to countries like the UK and Singapore is in the packaging. We need sophisticated packaging facilities so that the fruit does not decompose and sustains the local temperature of these countries," a trader said.

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